Let the second-guessing begin. Or continue.
This wasn’t the start the Dallas Cowboys wanted, especially and specifically for Brett Maher.
The rookie kicker missed his only field-goal attempt — his first in the NFL — a 47-yarder late in the third quarter.
The Cowboys made the controversial decision to cut veteran kicker Dan Bailey in favor of Maher when the roster was cut to 53 players. Bailey, who has been the second-most accurate kicker in the NFL since 2011, has struggled with injuries the previous two seasons and his accuracy had dipped a bit.
“That’s my job. That’s what I signed up to do,” Maher said. “Whenever I’m out on the field I tell the coaches I’m capable of making that kick and I just need to go out and execute it.”
Maher didn’t hook the kick, which was just a few feet right. It traveled mostly on a straight line, which is a small consolation for Maher, who had previously kicked in the Canadian Football League since graduating from Nebraska in 2013.
“It felt like it had a chance. Going back and looking at where it started [on video] it was just a couple of feet right of where I wanted it and I think that would have been the difference,” he said. “I felt like I pushed it a couple of feet to the right a little bit. It was a pretty clean ball, I just didn’t start it out where I wanted to.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he didn’t get a good look at Maher’s kick.
“It looks like he hit pretty well. He just missed it,” Garrett said. “That’s part of it.We have a lot of confidence in him and we believe he’s going to be a good kicker for our football team.”
Maher said nerves about his first NFL attempt weren’t the problem and he’s not worried about the questions that are surely to come about the Cowboys’ decision to go with him over a proven NFL kicker.
“I didn’t look at it that way. Every time I’m out on the field I try to go 1 for 1,” he said. “I didn’t get that done today so we’ll get back to work and get it fixed for the next one.If I would have hit it pure on the line it would have held there.”